When you start your business, you might be going at things alone while dealing with everything that’s involved in launching a new business or startup. There’s so much to do, whether it’s small like finding the right credit card for your business, or bigger like budgeting your overhead costs. But once you’ve started making a profit, it’s time to think about giving yourself a new role and finding more people to help you out with every task you’ve been trying to execute alone.
Making the right hiring choices for your startup or small business is one of the most important things you can do. The cost of training new employees is steep, and your bottom line is directly affected if you experience high turnover. Here are six ways to ensure you not only find, but also retain, the best staff you can.
When starting out and hiring new people, you’re creating roles and responsibilities that might not be well-defined as of yet. Focus on hiring employees with the ability to work flexible hours and perform a variety of jobs. Keep an eye out for resumes that highlight varied sets of skills, but don’t turn down individuals with more focused work histories. At this stage in the game, it’s impossible to know who may bring the most to the table.
You can even start by hiring new employees as contractors before honing in on more specific responsibilities and potentially offering them a long-term, salaried contract if they deliver excellent work starting out. That, in fact, can help reduce your overhead costs while you navigate a space where roles might still need defining in the long run.
Set the bar high when bringing on new workers, and never settle for a candidate when you have any doubts or reservations. Remember, it’s much better to leave a position unfulfilled than to bring on someone who might not work out.
Those standards, however, may not be what an applicant’s paper qualifications are. You might just stumble on a “diamond in the rough,” a young, somewhat inexperienced-but-hungry-to-learn professional. High standards are great, but that can simply mean having a high standard of expectations for your workers.
When posting your jobs, make the descriptions clear. Include the specific talents and skill sets needed to perform them and note a salary range so you leave yourself some flexibility for negotiation. Make sure the job title and description includes industry-specific keywords so top candidates can find your job.
Even if you think your operation is fully staffed, always have a hiring mindset. You never know when a worker may leave, and you might be surprised by how and when stellar candidates present themselves. Get chattier in the checkout line at the convenience store, talking about your venture, and discuss your business plan with friends and family members. You should always be looking for top talent, no matter where you are.
As a newly minted small business, you probably can’t offer the kind of salary or perks found in corporate America. Because of this you’ve got to make sure you’re adequately marketing the perks your company does offer. For example, you may want to tout your flexible scheduling, telecommuting options, or rapid career advancement. Remember that for your potential hires, it’s not all about salary.
Instead of simply relying on job search boards and other traditional methods of hiring, tap into the staff members you already have for personal recommendations. If you’ve built up the confidence and brought out the best in employees with good management, they’ll be happy to recommend great potential employees. Ask if they know of anyone looking for work and you may be surprised how many talented applicants are available.
In your dealings with potential candidates, don’t discount your own intuition. Even though a possible hire may have an excellent work history stocked with accomplishments and stellar references, listen to your gut. If something just doesn’t feel right, respectfully decline the individual and move on. Because every person’s personality is different, there is no one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to hiring. However, by listening to your instincts, you’re more likely to stack your team with people who are a perfect fit.
Paul Samson founded and sold three different start-ups and has now transitioned into full-time business coaching.